It was a beautiful fall Saturday. Annie just finished her Zumba class and was on her way to the farmers market to buy the ingredients for a salad she had been dreaming about. At the market, she realized her fantasy was about to come true because of the foods on display. As she made the first pass in front of the booths, she saw a mound of bright red onions (heart health), and right next to them a pile of fresh scallions (bone health). Hanging in giant bunches were beautiful red chili peppers. “I’ve got paprika at home, but I want fresh peppers (vitamin A) to amp up the spice of my salad, she thought.” Before she went further, she pulled her handy bamboo grocery bag out of her backpack and started to shop. After grabbing the onions and chilies, she headed over to the cucumbers (hydration) and picked a firm, deep green one. “This will add a mellow balance to the fire of these other ingredients.” Next, she picked up a ripe mango (immunity booster), and thought, “this is the sweet, now what’s missing? Oh, there it is edamame.” As Annie decided how much to buy, it occurred to her, edamame, which is immature soybeans, might not be suitable. A decade ago, during a breast cancer diagnosis, she was told that while soy was beneficial during menopause because its estrogen can help with hot flashes, it was a problem for certain breast cancers. “Okay, I’m going to buy a small amount, and then I’m going to get more information.” She finished her purchases and headed home. A search on the Mayo Clinic website in the Nutrition and Healthy Eating section revealed.

“Studies show that a diet rich in soy foods reduces the risk of breast cancer in women. Soy contains protein, isoflavones, and fiber, which provide health benefits. It was once thought that soy foods increase the risk of breast cancer. However, eating a moderate amount of soy foods does not increase the risk of breast cancer — or other types of cancer. A moderate amount is one to two servings a day of whole soy foods, such as tofu, soy milk, and edamame. So, where did the idea come from that soy increases breast cancer risk? Isoflavones, which are found in soy, are plant estrogens. High levels of estrogen have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. However, food sources of soy don’t contain high enough levels of isoflavones to increase the risk of breast cancer.”  

“Good to know,” she thought, “and in that case, I’ll also add tofu to our salad for a protein boost.” As Annie was completing the salad, L.J walked into the kitchen and said, “What’s Cookin good lookin?” “I made a delicious and beautiful salad for us, my love.” LJ thoughtfully paused and…

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